The War of the Worlds

Theatre (adaptation, physical theatre)

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  • Pleasance Courtyard - Forth
  • 15:20
  • Aug 26
  • 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: Rhum and Clay in association with the Pleasance
  • Warnings and additional info: This show contains strobe lighting and strong language.
  • Accessibility:
    Audio enhancement system
    Relaxed Performance
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


'No-one would have believed in the early years of the twentieth century that this world was being watched...' But we did believe. Written with Isley Lynn (Skin A Cat) and inspired by Orson Welles' radio broadcast, The War of the Worlds explores the ongoing power of fake events to cause real reactions. Intense, unsettling and entertaining, this super-smart and multi-layered show proves that in dark times the truth is a precious commodity. **** (Guardian). **** (Observer). **** (Stage). Winners: The Stage Edinburgh Award 2018 (Mistero Buffo) Pleasance Indie, Best Theatre Production 2017 (Testosterone).

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General venue access

  • Audio enhancement system
    Relaxed Performance
  • Accessible entry: Main entrance to venue beside Arthur’s Bar. Level access via locked lift at rear of building arranged by staff at entrance or Box Office.
  • Wheelchair access type: Building Lift

  • Stairs: 20+
    Number of stairs is provided as guidance and is not in addition to any wheelchair access type (lift/ramp etc) stated above.

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

Captioned performances

  • Dates: 25 August
  • Type: Open
  • Booking options: You can book independently online, or contact our access team to book your tickets and request any specific seating locations or if booking a unit is required.

Relaxed performances

  • Dates: 5 August
  • Booking options: You can book independently online, or contact our access team for more information or to discuss any accessibility requirements.
  • Character Introduction Details
  • Additional information: Information not supplied

Be aware that this show features:

  • Total Audience Black Out
  • Flashing Lights/Strobed Lighting
  • Characters expressing anger
  • Heavily dialogue-driven scenes
  • Permission to move around and make noise
  • Show guide or synopsis or character list

Show does not feature:

  • Loud/repetitive/high pitched/unexpected or overlapping sound
  • Distinctive smells
  • Special effects (e.g. smoke/bubbles/pyrotechnics)
  • Latex balloons
  • Audience required to walk around
  • Audience required to undertake directed movement
  • Audience required to sing/speak along with/for performer
  • Audience invited on stage
  • Performer goes into audience area
  • An intermission
  • Audience chill out area
  • Permission to engage with performer

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

KEITH GALLOIS 82 days ago

Not the show I expected, but that was due to me maybe not reading the blurb properly. However, nicely acted, with some thought provoking messages.

Chris G 82 days ago

Top notch performances and excellent writing, one of the best shows at the Fringe. Out of this world!

Graham Lewis 83 days ago

A fantastic show. I was drawn into it straight from the off. Superbly performed and staged. A highlight of my fringe this year.

Barbara Grant 83 days ago

Great show -original and though provoking. Thank you

Fiona A 84 days ago

A terrific production. 4 hugely talented actors, great script, intelligent and clever set - what's not to love? One of our Fringe highlights this year and definitely worth watching. The seats and knee-breakers and some of the most uncomfortable in the venue and that spoils and detracts from this fine piece of theatre, Get there early for the front row!!

Colin George 86 days ago

Given the buzz around this performance it hardly needs anyone else to tell you how brilliant it is. However... this is definitely one of the go-see shows of this year's Fringe. Rhum and Clay are one of the finest physical theatre companies around, dare I say the natural successors to Complicite. They know how to spot a good starting point, develop the idea as a piece, both in look and content, and deliver it through the tightest of ensemble playing. We have followed them since the days of A Strange Wild Song - one of my favourite performances of all time. This lives up there with that in my view. And they are nice guys too! Help them sell out for the rest of the Fringe - you'll not regret it.

William Minnitt 87 days ago

Technically brilliant and faultlessly acted, this play does what drama should do at its best: leave you in awe of the skill of the actors, writers and the technical team and send you away thinking deeply. War of the Worlds did that consummately.

William Minnitt 87 days ago

Technically brilliant and faultlessly acted, this play does what drama should do at its best: leave you in awe of the skill of the actors, writers and the technical team and send you away thinking deeply. War of the Worlds did that consummately.

Peta Foster 89 days ago

An amazing show! Intelligent, funny and outstandingly directed! Excellent!!!

Donald 89 days ago

Smart and engaging story and excellent acting.

Robert Rae 90 days ago

We were not sure what to expect but this was brilliant. An interesting and very different premise for a story superbly executed by a very talented group of four actors. Humerous, dramatic, touching and never less than engrossing for the 80 minutes. With virtually no props and no costumes the cast and technical team conjure up a wonderfully believable world.

Rachel Lissaman 92 days ago

Another hit from Rhum and Clay. Third time I've seen them at the fringe and fab to see some women on stage two who are extremely talented along with the usual two guys (I missed the third guy?!!)
Not a fan of Sci-fiction but even if you know nothing about the story you will leave feeling enlightened and with chills at the close comparison to today's news stories.
Great story, fantastic performers, superb tech support plus fantastic space with air conditioning!! Ha!

Crispian Denby 92 days ago

A well crafted and very interesting piece. One for the “thinking” audience.

David Copley 92 days ago

An excellent play, one of the best I've seen this year. I had thought that the show was simply about Orson Welles 1938 broadcast, however with the flash forwards to 2016, it was so much more than that. Using a clever radio studio style set with tight choreography, the play very neatly crystallised for me the issue of fake news today, questioning whose stories one can really trust.

Sean Davis 93 days ago

War of the Worlds (****)
This play intertwines a recreation of Orson Welles’ 1939 radio play about an Martian invasion of Grover’s Mill, New Jersey that many Americans took seriously, and a woman creating a podcast about a 13-year old girl who was left alone in her house by her family in Grover’s Mill when they drove off to escape the Martians. As the twin stories unfold we learn how podcasts of the 21st century may be thought of as the radio of the 1930s. The plotting is clever, and the story is even educational for those unfamiliar with how commercial podcasters develop their stories.

This was the 17th most enjoyable of the 83 shows I have seen so far this year. You may see my other three-sentence reviews, in order from most enjoyable to worst, at my non-commercial website:

Derek 94 days ago

It was a tour de force from beginning to end from the four - really talented - actors. I enjoyed every minute.

Whether you're a fan of War of the Worlds or new to the story you will be able to take something away.

A small mention to the production team too, who have clearly done a great job bringing together a well polished show.

Marie 94 days ago

This is a great show - we picked up the last of the tickets on the day. Refreshingly present, well written and performed. The parallels with fake news is frightening. I wonder what Orson Welles would make of todays story makers. Thanks for a great performance and thought provoking play.

Robert R 94 days ago

Very original take on a well loved story, thought provoking, well crafted and very well acted by the cast.
The best Fringe show I have seen in years and I would recommend it to anyone who has any familiarity with the original title, even if it is just a vague recollection of what it was all about.
I will take a note of the production company and cast so that I can keep an eye out for future performances they do.

Go experience the show ... it is well worth the time and money :-)

Rachael M. 94 days ago

Clever writing, brilliant staging and acting. So pleased I got to see this!

Janice Carlin 94 days ago

Thought-provoking and well performed. Not a retelling of WOTW but better for it.

Kristin & Greg 96 days ago

One of the best shows we've seen - acting, writing, production. Connecting the impact of "The War of the Worlds" 1938 radio performance, with fake news of 2016.

T Bolton 97 days ago

If you go in expecting a retelling of the HG Wells' classic or a version of Orson Welles radio play then think again. This is contemporary. Not any less entertaining but not quite what I thought I was getting. It's all very "now" and PC. Gay couple check, women are equal check, the media is bad, so and so forth but still worth a watch.

Steve Ruffle 98 days ago

This was the best show ive seen this year. Really powerful writing and acting.

Paul Shank 98 days ago

This may well be the best show at the Fringe this year!

PCaywood 99 days ago

I loved everything about the show. The set, the lighting, the sound (microphones), the script, and especially the actors, who are such a great ensemble - all equally good. Don’t miss it. It’s so creative and thought-provoking. It’s a theatrical treat!

Mark Hendrickson 100 days ago

Excellent show. Best I've seen so far this year. Funny, thought provoking, smart

LTW 100 days ago

Wonderful storyline, great acting and gave me a lot to think about on the subject of how much you can trust news these days!


Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

Broadway Baby (5/5 stars) 78 days ago

If you saw a live news report of an alien invasion on a network you trusted, would you believe it? Rhum & Clay’s production of The War of the Worlds poses that exact question to its audience.Orson Wells’ 1938 radio broadcast was an iconic moment in media history, partly due...

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The Awkward Corner (4.5/5 stars) 80 days ago

The show has stuck with me in the days prior to seeing, and it’s selling out for good reasons – it’s engaging, a modern take on a classic story and it pushes the boundaries and makes audiences think on storytelling and truth.

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Geek Chocolate 83 days ago

All four performers have good voices and diction, reflecting the radio style of the time, adapting their mannerisms as they shift between characters and eras in what becomes a very physical performance, the effect enhanced by simple but powerful lighting as they convey the power of radio upon an audience whose memory of the Great War was fresh and who were aware of rising tension in Europe.

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Miro Magazine (5/5 stars) 84 days ago

Rhum and Clay’s show isn’t at all preachy or patronising, or even (one or two jabs aside) particularly politically motivated. In fact, what stands out about this interpretation is its refusal to look down upon its audience. It doesn’t ask the obvious questions, or berate the consumption of fake news, but considers the why and the how, the authors behind the stories and how these things unexpectedly snowball together.

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Voice Magazine (4/5 stars) 85 days ago

‘The War of the Worlds’ is one of a kind and is very much worth heading over to Forth at The Pleasance Courtyard, for an hour and twenty minutes of stimulating theatre with a purpose.

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British Theatre Guide (4/5 stars) 87 days ago

So, what is fake news? Can we truly believe what we read online or in the newspapers or indeed television news?Rhum and Clay has a superb pedigree in producing striking physical theatre that is passionate, vibrant and challenging. It is storytelling at its finest.Their version of War of the Worlds,...

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The List (4/5 stars) 90 days ago

A smart, slick adaptation of the sci-fi classic and so much more...

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FringeReview 92 days ago

Fake news is a popular and wary topic these days and The War of the Worlds, a sci-fi novel by H.G. Wells was adapted for Orson Welles’ entertaining radio broadcast series in 1938, and was perhaps, the first well-known foray into reporting fake events to a large population, across the...

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The Wee Review (4/5 stars) 92 days ago

Re-imagining HG Wells’ lavish literary blockbuster about an alien invasion for the stage is a challenging proposition, so it’s fitting that Rhum & Clay Theatre Company don’t bother. Instead, the group use Orson Welles’ 1938 adaptation of the novel as their jumping-off point to explore important and disturbing questions about...

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Southside Advertiser (4/5 stars) 92 days ago

The War of The Worlds is a warning to us all to always question information given to us and directors Hamish MacDougall and Julian Spooner have with this story written by Isley Lynn found an unusual angle to highlight the dangers to us all from manipulation by unseen people and the agendas that they may be implementing.

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Bouquets and Brickbats (4/5 stars) 93 days ago

Simply but effectively staged, and convincingly acted by Jess Mabel Jones, Matthew Wells, Julian Spooner and Amalia Vitale, The War of the Worlds is one of those productions that prompts plenty of conversation afterwards. Those expecting a straight rerun of the Mercury Theatre’s transmission will be suprised and possibly even disappointed by this – it’s an altogether slipperier and more labyrinthine beast than its progenitor – but it makes its points eloquently and is well worth your time and money.

And you’ll be discussing it for hours.

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Broadway World (5/5 stars) 94 days ago

Engaging, witty and thought-provoking, with plenty of theatrical chops to back up Isley Lynn's timely script, this is a highly effective piece of theatre.

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Edinburgh Guide (4/5 stars) 98 days ago

“We know now that in the early years of the 20th century, this world was being watched closely by intelligences greater than man's”. Scrutinised and studied with envious eyes and slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us. The cast play interchangeable Orson Welles, characteristic pipes clenched and gestured...

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.